Wednesday, November 19, 2008

China Mobile: Voice over LTE... via UMA/GAN?

As covered by Michelle Donegan at Unstrung, China Mobile is prepping their network for LTE, and voice will be an important element.

Bill Huang, general manager of China Mobile Research Institute, said that the company is well prepared to move to LTE, and stressed the importance of supporting voice. Mr. Haung went on to say that one option for Voice over LTE was the UMA/GAN protocol.

“We could carry voice over UMA” said Mr. Huang. “We will have an LTE network that supports voice…”. To clarify, what Mr. Huang is referring to is not the traditional ‘home zone’ UMA deployment involving Wi-Fi or femtocells.

The 3GPP UMA/GAN (Generic Access Network) standard provides a generic method for extending 2G and 3G circuit (and packet) services over any broadband access network. Until now, the standard had been used to enable mobile operators to extend their services over fixed broadband networks (DSL, cable,…). However, now with a high-speed, low latency *mobile* broadband network, GAN can be used to extend existing mobile services (like telephony) over LTE.

Clearly for the mobile operator, this is a very low-risk, low-cost method of bringing their voice services (and revenues) to their LTE network deployments.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

UMA spotted on an iPhone

Well, here it is. Apparently this is an undoctored photo of blogger Pat Phelan’s O2 iPhone used in the US. [Ed Note: my mistake, thought it was being used in the UK].

Check out the upper left corner where the network display reads UMA.

If I were to guess, I’d say that T-Mobile’s HotSpot network has a “UMA” SSID. The phone has attached to that Wi-Fi access point and is displaying the SSID.

But clearly the phone is ready, the Wi-Fi network is ready, now we just need to get the UMA protocol stack into the phone. Then people can get better coverage and lower cost calling when attached to Wi-Fi with their iPhone.